Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jason Heyward Ultra Award Winners-Gold Glove

  Congratulations go out to Jason Heyward- the 2012 NL Gold Glove Award Winner for right field.

   The 1992 Fleer Ultra 'Award Winners' insert set had to be one of the sweetest cards of the decade, and collectors couldn't get enough of them. They seemed to be the first insert set to feature a 'premium' look. Some may not have liked that they were similar in design to the base cards, but I think that's one of its strengths. After all these years, it's easy to look at this set and immediately identify the design with the Ultra base set.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Night Special

  Colbey over at Cardboard Collections recently posted about purchasing a few unique cards from Japan (2012 Topps Sega Card-Gen). Having never heard of them, I immediately searched them out on eBay and won a couple of Braves for my PC.

  Along with my Chipper and JHey cards, the seller included these two cards. 

    Smaller than the standard size card, these things come in at 2 1/4" x 3 1/4". 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Food-Issue Friday: 1995 Post Cereal Dave Justice

 "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."~ Frank Zappa

  Although the news was released over a month ago (Susan Lulgjuraj reported it on Beckett's website), I had not heard until today that Post Cereal cards are making a comeback.

   Now, before you get too excited and begin to make plans on how to hoard all the boxes that you can get your mitts on, let me also inform you that it is hockey cards they are bringing back. No, not NHL cards-but CHL cards.

   I'm still dreaming of the day that they bring back major league baseball cards...

  I like the design of the 1995 Post baseball collector series. It was a deviation from the norm for a company that had a long history of distributing the cardboard treasures in their cardboard boxes. While quite similar to the 1993 Post baseball issue, which also featured the post logo in the upper right corner and a black border along the right side and bottom of the card, the '95 was the first set to feature a background with something other than that of the photo. It also was the first time that the card was oversized (5" x 3.5") and scored in the center. With the scored center, the card is then able to be folded in half. In the center of the folded card is a full color photo of the player. This is the one aspect to the card that I'm not real crazy about-it makes it seem like a small greeting card rather than a sports card. I guess that's what makes it even more 'odd-ball' and special. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chops Custom Cards- Slide Stars: Derek Trucks

   If you have never heard of Derek Trucks, but the last name sounds familiar, you're probably one who loves baseball history, collects vintage cardboard, or both. 

   For those not familiar with him, Derek is one of the best guitarists in the world- known for his soulful slide work, with a style which incorporates jazz, blues, soul, southern rock, and various world music. As a child prodigy, Trucks performed live with Buddy Guy and toured with The Allman Brothers Band (his uncle Butch was a founding member) by age 13. He became a full-time member of the Allman Brothers by age twenty. 

  He is also the great-nephew of former MLB pitcher Virgil Trucks. Peter Gammons once wrote a piece for MLB.com about the guitar legend meeting his relative for the first time-it's a great article, and can be read here.

   Perhaps I should have gone with a photo of the Dunlop Derek Trucks Signature Slide to give this a more authentic look, but I wanted something to use on other cards as well. Oh, well- I do like the chromed steel look on this one, and the white lettering fits in the slide nicely. 


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The 'Screw Topps' 100 Card Challenge

  When Topps recently announced that it would release a 100 card, $100 Heritage High-Number Set (limited to 1000 sets), I expected much more of a firestorm within the card collecting community. So far, the only two bloggers whom I have read railing on this dastardly deed have been Greg at Night Owl Cards and Robert from $30 A Week Habit.

  Perhaps I just don't read enough blogs.

  That's probably the case.

  One of my beefs with the whole thing is that Topps actually had the balls to have begun taking pre-orders on the set without so much as a checklist. I even sent a tweet their way, requesting a link to a checklist- but have never received a reply. Sorry boys, but I'm not going to plunk down a Benjamin on some set that, aside from about three rookies, contains a bunch of  'mystery' players.

  Taking inspiration from the aforementioned Robert, I have decided to throw out a "Screw You Topps' 100 Card Challenge." Some of my rules will differ from those of Robert, while others will be the same.

  • I will not begin to receive cards until the week of November 6th-same as when the Topps set will ship.
  • I, too, will scour the web for 100 cards, one of which must be an autograph
  • Of the other 99 cards, 1 must be a RC of a former uber-hyped prospect, along with a handful of other Rookie Cards: both lower and mid-level prospects. 
  • Also included in that century mark must be an aging veteran or two (or three) who was acquired at-or right before-the trade deadline. 
  • Since my card allowance is about half of that of $30 A Week, I will be trying to spend as little as possible-thus showing Topps that, for my collector dollar, there are much better deals to be had out there. 
  • I will be posting updates on my purchases, as well as a final post at the end of the challenge which will give all the bloody details. A tweet to Topps with a link of final results will follow.
  Finally, as tempting as it might be, I haven't ruled out the purchase of Topps cards during this challenge. I will do my darnedest to not buy any Topps, but there's still many on my wantlist... 

Cardinals win?!

I've heard of 'good sportsmanship'- but this is ridiculous! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chops Original: Guitar Greats Rik Emmett


 Band(s): Triumph, solo artist

Influences: Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Charlie Byrd, Lenny Breau, Yardbirds, Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny, others

My Favorite Tracks: (with Triumph)-Fantasy Serenade, Mid Summer's Daydream, A Minor Prelude, Writing on the Wall, Rock and Roll Machine (Live), Never Surrender; (as solo artist)- Castle of Regret, Buggy Ride, Knuckleball Sandwich

Gear: Gibson Les Paul, Gibson ES-345, Gibson 6/12 String Doubleneck, Godin Spectrum, Yamaha LS-36, Yamaha L-55 acoustics, Dean Signature 'V'

This and That: If I were to compare Emmett to a baseball player, it would be Martin Prado. Like Prado, who played five different positions this year (quite well, I might add), Rik Emmett is able to do it all. As the guitarist and co-vocalist of the Canadian power-trio Triumph, he displayed a wide array of musical styles- from jazz and classical, to blues and flamenco. Following a successful career in the rock world, Rik has released several solo albums, as well as ones with touring partner Dave Dunlop (as the Strung-Out Troubadours). While Rik's solo albums may not appeal to many fans of the rock genre that Triumph fell into, he still has a large fan base. And-he's still highly thought of by his peers. Simply put, I believe Emmett is one of the most under appreciated guitarists of our time. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Food-Issue Friday: 1992 Pacific/McDonald's Cardinals Walker Cooper

 (back photo off of COMC)
   Produced by Pacific Trading Cards in 1992 and celebrating the 100th anniversary of the St. Louis Cardinals, this set, done in conjunction with McDonalds, contained 55 cards of players past and (at the time) present.
  While I was never a fan of the company, I do find this set to be an attractive one. Featuring a great player selection, the set also includes a nice use of the Cards 100th anniversary logo, a solid gold bar on the top and bottom of card, and the classic Red/Yellow logo of the fast-food chain which all lend to a nice, clean front. Not only do I like the simplicity of the design, but I haven't seen many sets which have been able to use black and white photographs effectively. This one does-although not all the fronts are b/w; there's also a good selection of cards with color photos on the fronts.
  The card backs contain some unique features: a nice inclusion of the Ronald McDonald Children's Charities logo in the middle of the card, directly above the stats. Speaking of stats, by including only a Cardinals and Career line, it allows more space for a write-up by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This, too, is a great idea by the company.
  If I were a Cardinal collector- or more ambitious in my odd-ball collection- I would definitely look to put this one together.

  Speaking of MickeyD's, who can forget Eddie Murphy's classic "We got McDonalds, we got McDonalds!"?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Custom Cards: 1964 Topps Merritt Ranew

On this day one year ago, former Brave, Colt .45, Cub, Angel, and Pilot Merritt Ranew passed away at the age of 73.
Custom 1964
  Originally signed as a free-agent by the Milwaukee Braves, catcher Merritt Ranew spent five seasons ('57-'61) in the Braves minor league system before being drafted by the Houston Colt .45s in the 1961 expansion draft. 

  Ranew split the '62 season between AAA Oklahoma City of the American Association and Houston-where he played in 71 games for the expansion club. While his card in the 1962 Topps lists him as a  member of the Colts, the photo used is obviously one which depicts him in Braves gear. 

1962 Topps #156 

  Traded to the Cubs in March of 1963, Mr. Ranew would have his best season in the majors that year-batting .338 in 154 at-bats, while slugging .841. 

1964 Topps #78

  Topps did not produce a card of Ranew that season, but did include the backstop in its 1964 set. In June of that year, however, the Cubbies sent Ranew back to Milwaukee as the player to be named later in the Len Gabrielson deal. With Milwaukee, Merritt would only appear in nine games during the '64 season. The next year he would, once again, be on the move: sent to San Francisco-who would then send him to California a short time later.

  It was during his time with the Angels (actually their PCL minor league team in Seattle-in May of 1966) that Ranew endured one of the worst attacks in baseball history- taking a bat to the head by Santiago Rosario of the Vancouver Mounties (a KC Athletics minor league team). The hit to Ranew's head produced a three-inch gash, causing internal bleeding on the brain and paralysis on the left side of Mr. Ranew's face. After undergoing surgery to relieve the clot, Merritt remained unconscious for seventy-two hours. You can read more on the incident here.

  After spending three weeks in a Vancouver hospital, Ranew was released from the hospital and back on the field the next season-spent once again in Seattle. Prior to that 1967 season, Ranew filed a lawsuit against the Vancouver team, it's manager, Rosario, and the Kansas City Athletics-and won the decision. 

  Merritt Ranew retired after the 1971 season, and went on to become a successful horse trainer and businessman. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A-Rod Looking to Improve OBP, Score More

So, I hear A-Rod's found an alternative way to get on base and score

Lock up your women and children, Detroit- A-Rod's going slump busting!

2012 Topps Update Jumbo Pack

  I took my son to Walmart last weekend to get his hunting license. While there, I decided to see if they were carrying any Topps Update; Target would be my normal choice for checking retail, but they didn't have any the last time I checked. Sho 'nuff, Wally World had some, so I picked up what will probably be the only pack I buy of the stuff. As much as would like to collect the set, I am no longer going to play Topps' game of trying to chase down the super short prints of traded players (AGon, Crawford, Beckett, etc.) who are otherwise not in the base set. In my opinion, without them, the set is incomplete. But I digress.

  Oh, yes, the cards...

  While I won't go through all 36 cards, I will feature some of the highlights from the jumbo pack-

#PPO-9 Barack Obama 'Florida' Predictor Card~ Important swing state; sounds like Romney is making up some serious ground in the state-among both Latinos and the retirees. Hopefully he (the president) won't be smiling after this evening's debate. Anyway- yet another gimmick by Topps. What gets me is that the card has no details on the sweepstakes-only to visit topps.com for info. So, I go there and cannot find any information. Not even after running a search on their site. Way to go Topps- your website sucks.

#BB-10 Blockbusters 'Tigers Get Fielder'~ Remember how foolish that signing looked after the Tigers' slow start? They were written off by August, and we were all thinking more along the lines of "Lackluster" instead of blockbuster. Who's laughing now?

#US103 Jack Wilson~ The one and only Brave out of the pack. Injury, lack of production, and the trade for Paul Janish made Jackie boy irrelevant. Wilson eventually called it quits on his big league career.

Post Season Hero's 

#US21 Buster Posey All-Star

#US216 Matt Cain All-Star

#US211 Matt Cain/Checklist

#US15 Justin Verlander All-Star~ here's to hoping he shuts down the AAA team that the Yanks will probably field tonight!

#US86 Anibal Sanchez-The man shut down ARod, Cano, Granddy, Swisher, and Tex! Wait-so has everyone else...

#554 Raul Ibanez Gold (#0220/2012)~ Rauuuuuul!

#US118 David Freese All-Star Gold (#1357/2012)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

2012 Topps Update Braves

  "People invest an awful lot emotions in their sports teams-too much, probably, but whatever- and sometimes they get a lot of joy in return, and sometimes the experience just hollows out your innards, and coats the leftovers with bleach, and leave you feeling pale and confused and silent and sad." ~ Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post, after the Nat's lost the NLDS by blowing a 3-run lead in the top of the ninth.

  I can relate to the feelings of Mr. Steinberg. I am, after all, a Braves fan who has grown accustomed to disappointment and failure in the 32 years I have followed the team.

  The past three seasons, in particular, have been a bitter pill to swallow and leads one to believe they are trapped in a time loop. Only in this narrative, the main characters in this story (the players and manager) don't learn from past mistakes and can't change the outcome. I guess the great Shirley Povich was right: about all you can do as a fan is tuck your chin behind your shoulder the next time; and while you might protect yourself from the blows, it still hurts. Written like a true sports fan.

   The way the Braves season ended may have left me feeling incomplete, but with the recent release of 2012 Topps Update, my Braves Topps team set is now complete.

  Once again, Topps has given Braves collectors a large number of players to chase in its end of season product. And while they did a bang-up job on their selections by including Kris Medlen, Ben Sheets, Andrelton Simmons, Chad Durbin, and All-Star cards of Chipper and Kimbrel, I really wished they had included cards of Luis Avilan and Paul Janish. Both players were important pieces to this year's club-Avilan was a big surprise in the bullpen, and Janish filled in admirably for Simmons after the rookie shortstop went down with a broken finger. Avilan and Janish should make the club next spring, so perhaps they will be included in next year's product.
   As far as inserts, it's pretty much the same old-same old-with the "Golden" theme appearing again. Smoltz and Spahn are included in the Golden Greats series, while Tyler Pastornicky is included with an auto (sticker) Golden Moments. And yes, the mini's are back-this time with only the three Braves pictured above.
  What would a Topps set be without the Short Print variations? And yes, they sucked me into the hype by including Craig Kimbrel and Chipper Jones (of which I am awaiting shipment).

  The one insert I was expecting in my purchase, but did not receive, is a Blockbusters card featuring John Smoltz. Since the Smoltz/Alexander deal was probably the most important in franchise history, the card is a must have for any Braves fan/collector. There's also a parallel set of the Blockbusters which features manufactured embroidered patches. While it's not on my 'must have' list, the embroidered patch is one which will probably find its way into my collection.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Food-Issue Friday: 1910 Morton's Pennant Winner Bread Tigers

   Considered one of the rarest advertising pin sets of its era, the 1910 Mortons Pennant Winner Bread Tiger's Pin set was manufactured by Whitehead & Hoag of Newark, NJ, and was issued to celebrate the Tiger's third straight American League Pennant. Measuring 1.25 inches in diameter and feature vibrant colors, the set includes Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford.

  I have no idea why the usually manacing-looking Ty Cobb is smiling in the photo on his pin, but I have a good idea about Verlander. Last night, the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner led his team to its second straight ALCS. Well, he has been linked to Kate Upton. That would put a smile on his face.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The End

"This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the end, my only friend, the end. Of our elaborate plans, the end. Of everything that stands, the end. No safety or surprise, the end. I'll never look into your eyes...again. Can you picture what will be-so limitless and free. Desperately in need of some strangers hand, in a desperate land...This is the end, my only friend, the end. It hurts to set you free..."
~Jim Morrison, The Doors' 'The End'

 No way his career should have ended in such an ugly game.
Word can't describe how pissed off and disappointed I am right now.
Screw MLB, screw Bud Selig for the 1 game playoff, and screw the umpires from tonight's game. Horrible, just horrible!

Lottery Tickets and Huntin' Red Birds

1997 Upper Deck Predictor #2
  Got Lottery ticket?

  I hate the newly added one-game Wild Card 'play in' game. Scares me to death. Anxiety will rule the day leading up to tonight's game. Dang you, Bud Selig!

It's time to hunt some Red Birds, boys.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


    Not only is today's game the final regular season one for Chipper, but for Ben Sheets as well. Ben was penciled in as the starter for today's regular season finale, and announced it would be the final game of his career. Although he was a Brave for only a short while, it can't be emphasized enough just how important he was to a team that was in desperate need of some stability in its rotation.

   Congratulations, gentlemen, on your fine careers. May you go deep into October!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


"...you are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run-you missed the starting gun...And you run and you run to catch up with the sun-but it's sinking. Racing around to come up behind you again. The sun is the same, in a relative way- but you're older. Shorter of breath and one day closer to death. Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time. Plans that either come to naught, or half a page of scribbled lines...The time has come, the song is over. Thought I'd something more to say. "
~ Pink Floyd's Time

Monday, October 1, 2012

1991/2012 Score Chipper Jones

"Travel out across the burnin' sand, across the ocean to some distant lands. We'll reach the end, we'll all be singin'-and we'll all be friends, back where it all begins." ~ The Allman Brothers' Back Where It All Begins